sleep

Can I Please Get Some Sleep!


sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I start a post on a blog aimed primarily at parents which has the title; “Can I Please Get Some Sleep!” As mommies and daddies you know that when you decide to have children one of the most important things you have to come to grips with is the fact that sleeping in, and 8-9 hours of solid sleep are a thing of the past. It’s just no longer a part of your life, much in the same way combing my hair became a thing of the past when it all started to fall out. You have to accept it, give it up and then move on, otherwise you will find yourself a constant ball of angst and stress.

Even though we have long since accepted the fact that sleeping a full-night’s is no longer an option for you, the past couple of weeks at The Urban Daddy household have been like no other…

Let me explain what is happening here.

First off, our kids have always had a very structured day, so their evening begins with dinner, followed by kitchen clean up, bath/shower time, a snack, book (us or them reading) and then lights out by their set bedtime.  Boo, at just over 3-years-old is the first off to bed. Her bed time is 7pm. Ever since our summer vacation she has decided that bed-time routine begins with her falling to sleep in our bed, laying on mummy, in “Mummies bed” as she likes to call it.  She also needs to have pee’d, brushed her teeth, and have at least her favourite stuffed animal of the day snuggled against her before she dozes off.

Once Boo is asleep, I carry her to her room and hope that she stays asleep during the walk.  It’s a temporary move, however.

Boo is now at that age where we need to teach her to tell time so she will not get out of her bed before 7am (like her brothers), so right now she  meanders over to our room at all hours of the night, blankies tucked under he arms and she climbs into our bed and snuggles up on top of my wife / her mummy.

Problem is, one awaken, my wife cannot get back to sleep.  I’m not so unlucky, and all I need is 10 seconds and I am back out cold.  So of course, Boo comes in, wakes up my wife, who 1 minute to see if I wake up too (which I do not), then kicks me to take our daughter back to her room, which I’m happy to do.

But parents, you know that once a child arrives in your room, they do not want to go back to sleep in their bed, so Boo then goes through her routine of stall tactics; “I have to pee”, “I want you to sleep with me”, I’m thirsty”, “I’m hungry”… Once all that is taken care of, I convince her that I am going to lay with her until she’s asleep, and once she’s back asleep I slide back to my bed, or sometimes I just fall back to sleep there beside her and hope that she hasn’t jumped back out of bed and into our room.

The problem continues because I’m trying to not fall asleep in her room – I want to break her of the habit of coming it and waking us up because she knows she either sleeps in our bed or she gets me to stay with her.  It’s tiring.

So it figures then that once we start to break the pattern we get a night like the one I’m about to describe, which happened last week.

Early last week, Boo arrived in our room – an hour and a half after her bedtime – and hoped into bed.  We were watching TV together so I got up to tidy up the house and let Boo and her mummy lay down to sleep.  Before I left, however, Boo asked me for water.  “I’m thirsty”, she said.

I gave her water and she guzzled some back, then she started to cough / choke, so we both turned to look at her.

“I almost threw up!” she said.

Third child, I’m thinking in my head, “No, you were just choking on the water.  You’re okay now, go to sleep, I reassured her.”

“No, I’m going to vomit!” she follows with, now opening her mouth to show me that she threw up in her mouth and did not appreciate the acidic taste.

“It’s okay, just got to sleep, please” I replied.

“No, I’m going to vomit” she repeated to me.  “I’m going to the toilet.”

Up she popped out of the bed, and then she tore off into our bathroom.

“Turn on the light!” she blurted as she zoomed into the bathroom.  I looked at my wife and we nodded in agreement that I should at least go turn on the lights for her.

So of course, upon turning on the lights, she proceeds to vomit into the toilet… Twice.

Oops, I thought.

“I vomited in the toilet”, she pointed out to her previously unconvinced father.

“Yes you did.  How do you feel now?” I asked her.

And this episode was just the beginning, which saw us change our bed twice, including the duvet and it’s cover off to the laundry room with her blankies, her bed sheet, her under-pad and about 10 towels.

Yawn.

Now, Six-year-old Stewie is a completely different story…  This kid looks like he is going to pass out exhausted by 7pm, and he gets right into bed and reads or draws, but he sleeps SO soundly.  He gets up at the creak of the floor or the sound of thunder and races into our room and snuggles in to bed with us.  He’s getting so big that he can’t sneak in any more, we have to make room for him.

We now tell him when it may rain at night and he always asks if he can come sleep with us if there is thunder.  We always say yes.

Then there is Linus.

He’s a great sleeper.  We had Stewie at home and Linus slept through the birth.

Nuff said.

So what would be the perfect gift for my wife???  A night at a hotel.  Imagine… Food, WiFi, TV and a soft, comfy bed without distraction… I’m shuddering just thinking about it…  For me.  :)

How do your kids sleep?

As a Father, if you’re going to disappoint some of them, you might as well disappoint all of them…


I wanted to post this last week when it happened but did not get a chance but since that night this scenario has come up over and over again, just not to the same extent.

The night it first happened, was a special night in the Urban Daddy household.  Determined to get back into some semblance of an exercise routine, I made up my mind early in the day that I would run on the treadmill that evening, by hook or by crook.

Since I’m still within my 3 month window of a new job with much greater responsibility, and the stress / excitement of meeting new people, learning new systems, figuring out acronyms and being on my toes all the time, I have found myself quite exhausted by about 10pm, which means that is around the time I tend to fall asleep on the couch when trying to; watch TV, read, blog, play Cityville, or… exercise.  Very unusual for me as I’m used to 1-2am sleeps with 6am wake-ups.

This night was exercise night and the beginning of a new schedule for me.

New Routine – Thursday night.:

Eat dinner with the kids (not unusual at all)

Stewie piano lessons

Give Berry a bath

Linus annoy mummy during math lesson

Then switch…

Linus piano.

Berry and Stewie before bed snack.

All kids in bed by 8:15 and I’m going to treadmill for 1/2 hour before I have a shower, then run out to grab milk.  I really want to begin getting to bed at a reasonable hour – it is currently 12:33am so that is not happening.

Then it all fell apart.

Urban Mummy wanted to talk to me.  We didn’t talk much the previous night and she barely saw me today and she wanted to chat but I patted my flabs and said, “Sorry hun!  I have to treadmill”.  She was disappointed.

I went to check on the kids and here is what happened;

Walked into Stewie’s room, and surprisingly he was still awake.

“Stay with me, Daddy”, he said.

“Sorry kiddo.  I have to treadmill right now so I can shower, get milk and talk to your mother before she falls asleep or kills me”.

He was disappointed.

I went from there to Linus’ room where he was sitting up in his bed too.

“Lay with me, Daddy and tell me a story, please”.

“Can’t buddy.  Have to go treadmill before mummy goes to sleep.

He gave me his pouty disappointed face.

Out I marched and right into Berry’s room where surprisingly she was up too.

“Rub my back and stay with me Daddy”, she said.

“Sorry, sweetie, I have to treadmill.  Sing for me and I will tuck you in when I’m done.”

She was not happy either because she didn’t sing for me and she usually does.  “Bla Bla Blacksheet”

Out I walked.

4 people wanted me to stay with them and 4 people got nothing.

Like I said in the title.  Go big or go home.  If you’re going to disappoint someone you might as well disappoint all of them.

Dads…  You turn.  What would you have done?

It is that time of year… Tax time!


For those of you who are new to this site, or who drop in occasionally, you may not know that in my real life, I play a tax manager.  I post tax information that I find interesting, or that I have to dig up and research on at www.intaxicating.wordpress.com, soon to be at www.intaxicating.ca once I find the password and username that I misplaced.

So what that means is that this time of year – actually beginning in August -is super-hectic.  Beginning December 1st, my walk hurried into a jog, and now in mid-January I am already in full sprint.  I’m not sure ho long this pace can keep up with 2 1/2 months to go…

I had an idea how this day was going to shape up, when the first song I heard on my iPad was “Under Pressure” by Queen.  I spent most of the day pushing ahead tasks and projects where there was room to move them, while trying to get other projects completed ahead of schedule, while putting out fires that happened throughout the day.  Nothing new for me, and to be honest, since I really like doing this a lot, it makes for a fun time.  I’m just reminded as I get more and more tired that I need to get to the gym as that got me through 2 previous tax seasons.

I also realized today that taking care of my kids on Saturday, while awesome, really set me back a bit, when on Sunday I took the boys tobogganing for a couple of hours in -25 degree celcius (with windchill) weather and boy did that fresh air mess with us all.

Both kids were exhausted at night and I was a disaster on Monday. I actually went right to sleep at 8pm after all the kids were asleep and slept right through until 7am the next morning.  I would say that was the most uninterrupted sleep I have had in 6 years.

It was also today when I realized how much I appreciate my wife, and that she does what I did on Saturday each and every day.  Sure we have a nanny to help her out but she still works, feeds us, pays the bills, programs the entire family and keeps the house running smoothly…  Zowie.  I feel like such a wuss now.

I often ask her opinion on how to manage a situation because while she has not managed people per se, she manages the household, the kids, the nanny, and in her former life as a high-school teacher, she managed to stay sane.

I think the task of managing kids is very similar to managing adults as in both cases you are looking to make sure both groups do what is right for themselves and for the rest of the team / family, while at the same time you want to make sure there is no conflict and you have to work together to get the job done. 

For both kids and adults, working towards a goal is key.  IT’s easier to track progress that way and having a prize at the end of the maze makes the race more worthwhile.

In reading “Honey, I wrecked the kids” by Alyson Schafer, I am learning new less physical ways to interact with the kids and get them to do what my wife and I expect from them.  I am finding success.  Instead of asking Linus to remove his plate from the table night in and night out, Alyson suggests that since kids know their responsibilities, a simple one word reminder should suffice, so this morning when Linus got up and walked away from the table, I said; “Linus.  Plate.”  He turned around, walked back to the table and removed his plate.

Another tool is the re-direct.  Linus was making a spitting noise that I cannot stand and instead of asking him to stop and give him all that attention for the wrong reasons, I merely asked him different questions until he forgot what he was doing and started chatting with me.

Good one Alyson!

The last technique that I am finding to be a great help (I’m halfway through the book) is the introducing of consequences.

You don’t have to clean your room if you don’t want to put I will not read a book to anyone is a messy room, worked wonders the other day.  As does the line, you can stay downstairs and play if you want.  You will miss snack before bed and if that is your choice, that is okay with me.

Can’t wait to get through the book… One night parenting, next night taxation, following night parenting…

As an aside, I’m looking for a beginner yoga class in the Toronto area that begins after our kids are in bed, so around 8pm.  Anyone?

Being Daddy for a Day (and surviving without any visible scars)


Saturday was a great day in the urban daddy household.  Urban Mummy was at the Ontario Science Centre all day for a nutrition seminar, and that meant I got to play full-time Daddy to my own kids for the day.

Originally the plan was a trip to karate for the boys, then meeting my mother and sister for brunch, then to visit my grandmother with the kids, and take them home so the baby could nap… The rest was up in the air.

Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the City of Toronto that it was going to snow so it was near impossible to drive this morning on the slippery unplowed roads, so I told my mothersister to stay home and the plans changed.

Firstly, karate was great!

Stewie got his green advanced belt.

…and Linus got another stripe for his yellow belt.

Special thanks to Elliott @ Supernova for the pics.

After karate we came home and the boys earned 2 cookies by shovaling the neighbours sidewalk and driveway.  They worked SO hard.

Then we came inside and while the baby slept for 3 awesome hours, the boys and I played, cleaned, watched some TV, read and had a great time.

At 5pm it was bath time for everyone, I put up the last of the mezuzahs in the upstairs, and UM came home just before 6pm.

Upon seeing her, Berry said, “Mama meh” (Mummy-milk) and in the process of getting her dressed in her PJ’s she fell off the bed backwards on her back / bum.  She barely cried, but fell asleep feeding – an exhauting day for her.  She was is in her crib for the night by 6:30pm. 

The boys ate dinner, then snack and were off to bed by 7:30pm, as UM and I had dinner plans with some friends later tonight – no kids.  I can’t wait!

Oddly enough neither boys wanted my wife to leave (not me) and one developed a tummy ache and the other was having nightmares (without having been asleep yet).  We managed to get both settled and we left.

Dinner was fantastic as was the company.  We had a great time and returned home around 1:30am with a new found understanding as to why you do not google things when playing the game “Headbandz”.

The kids of course we up well before 7 this morning… Oh well…

So there!  I not only survived the day with 3 kids – my three kids – but I had a blast.

The sleeping patterns of a 2 year old, and now 4 year old.


What a difference a year (or 2) makes!

In 2008 I wrote a blog post entitled, “Ewww Stinky”

http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/ewww-stinky/

In that post I discuss the wake-up routine of then 2-year-old son Stewie and how it was that he woke up in the morning with a diaper full of poo, but he would never leave his bed until we came to get him.

It was the funniest thing. Picture this… obedient little boy, laying in a toddler bed, one foot off the floor, but he never once stepped foot off the bed until someone came to get him – that someone could have been me, urban mummy, or even big brother Linus.

Fast forward 2 years and here is Stewie, now 40 pounds, still needing a diaper at night – still waking up full of poo more often than not, but does he wait in bed for someone to come get him?!? Heck no. The happy wandered shows up at my bed at all hours of the night. He’s tired, he’s scared, he’s hungry, he heard thunder… The list goes on. It’s near impossible to get him into bed. What’s worse, is that last night, for example, he came to get me at 4am – he was hungry – and when I said we could go downstairs and get him a bite, he whipped out his flashlight to lead the way. Then… In typical Stewie fashion, he suckered me into sleeping in his bed with him and once I fell asleep, he left to go sleep with mummy, leaving me cramped up and uncomfortable.

I long for those days where he would stay in bed and call for us to come get him and release him from bed-prison… I long for the days when Linus would stay in bed until 7am. Early morning wake-up calls are frequent in our house and are a major reason why I’m tired all the time. I at least can get back to bed… Urban mummy… Once she’s up, she’s up for the day.

I’m going to remind Stewie of this tonight.